CCEM / Erika Andresen
[00:00:00] Kyle King: Welcome to the Crisis. Conflict. Emergency Management. Podcast, where we have global conversations and share perspectives about international crisis preparedness and how to build more resilient societies. My name is Kyle, and I will be your host. And just how vulnerable are we to the changing international environment and what can we learn from this experience?
[00:00:17] Kyle King: From AI to space warfare, to community development and crisis communications. There's something here for everyone. Join us for unique international conversations and perspectives into the current threats, challenges, and risks to our society. This podcast is brought to you by Capacity Building International and sponsored by The International Emergency Management Society.
[00:00:45] Kyle King: Welcome to the podcast everyone. We're excited to have a truly exceptional guest with us today. Erika Andresen, a woman with an impressive background that spans a world of law, military service, national security, and business continuity. Erika, a certified business continuity professional, holds a Juris Doctor and a Master's of Public Affairs.
[00:01:02] Kyle King: And her career has taken her from the corporate finance world to the front lines of disaster preparedness and response and high risk situations. With nearly two decades of experience, Erika left active duty in 2020 and embarked on a new mission to keep businesses in business. She founded her own consulting company and authored the acclaimed book, How Not to Kill Your Business: Growing Your Business In Any Environment, Navigate Volatility, and Successfully Recover When Things Go Wrong.
[00:01:26] Kyle King: This engaging guide has become a favorite among business continuity professionals and entrepreneurs. Erika's expertise goes beyond writing as she's also a professor of emergency management at the University of Texas at El Paso's, MPA program and her insights and knowledge have been featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes, Dark Reading, Smartsheet, and Money Geek.
[00:01:45] Kyle King: We are thrilled to have Erika join us today and share her wealth of experience and unique perspective on business continuity, disaster preparedness, and how businesses can thrive even in the most challenging of environments. So without further ado, let's dive right in. Erika, how are you?
[00:02:00] Erika Andresen: I'm excellent, Kyle. How are you?
[00:02:02] Kyle King: I'm doing well, thanks for joining us today. And I think you have such a wide diverse background and you've covered a number of different topics. So with that type of background and that diversity of experience in law, military service, and national security, what inspired you to transition into the world of business continuity and disaster preparedness?
[00:02:20] Erika Andresen: I remember the moment, I was in Afghanistan at the time and I was finishing up my MPA doing the schooling long distance when I had a free moment or two. And the stuff that we were doing in Afghanistan, I was the JAG officer, so the legal officer approving the strikes we were doing, plus also doing some risk management with respect to some of the missions that we were going out on.
[00:02:41] Erika Andresen: And of course, it was for risk management, we were doing an assessment, for every mission, is it the most likely, least likely, and most deadly course of action? Which is risk management on a pretty high and serious level. And at the same time, I was reading a business review article after superstorm Sandy, where were interviewing business owners asking all the same questions.
[00:03:02] Erika Andresen: And the final question was, "So what are you doing to prepare for next time?" And almost every single one of them said, "Oh, this isn't gonna happen again." And I was like, "No, no, you're so wrong about that. So please let me help you. And really what I'm driven by is the impact that I can have on something. I was in the corporate world first.
[00:03:23] Erika Andresen: I begrudgingly went into the corporate world and I was really unhappy and unfulfilled, helping the rich banks stay rich because this was in the early mid-aughts So when the world economy collapsed in 2008, I was helping defend the banks from the Department of Justice, from the Attorney General Investigations, the SEC.
[00:03:41] Erika Andresen: And I'm like, oh, not fulfilled by that. I started doing pro bono work for veterans and I was like, okay, that makes me feel like I'm using my law degree for something really good. And then I wound up leaving the corporate world to join the active duty military to do that every day cuz I didn't wanna charge money, cause it felt dirty to charge veterans money.
[00:03:58] Erika Andresen: And everything I did in the military I saw had an insane, awesome impact even from legal assistance, which is basically legal aid for soldiers. But then I had a job at the Emergency Operations Center, legal advisor, and we actually wound up having a disaster at that time. I was told it would be a quarterly meeting.
[00:04:17] Erika Andresen: That would be my only duties for that. No, not when there's an actual disaster happening. And I was advising the General on what we were doing to respond. And it's great to be a lawyer where instead of saying, "Well, it says no, here, we can't. No we can't. No, we can't." To go, "Okay, it says no here, but let me look somewhere else, and Oh, yes we can."
[00:04:36] Erika Andresen: And I loved having the impact that had a positive impact on the community. So flash forward, Afghanistan, I'm doing this thing, reading this, and I had the idea to start my business. That was 2016. But when I was active, I couldn't start my business. So I decided to get outta the military in January of 2020.
[00:04:53] Erika Andresen: Not aware that a pandemic was coming right down the pike. And for a brief moment, business continuity became really popular in the United States particularly, but also the world. And I was like, oh, shoot, I'm too late. I'm joining the party after everybody else has already been there. And a friend of mine said, "Hey Erika, you know that you're your product, right?"
[00:05:12] Erika Andresen: It's like your knowledge, your passion, your interest, your expertise. And I was like, oh, you're right. And that's actually kind of how I came up with the name of my company, EaaS as a plan on software service. It's Erika as a Service. And when I realized that I wasn't gonna go after the big fish, I wasn't going after the big companies or international corporations either.
[00:05:33] Erika Andresen: They already do it as business continuity or they don't need to do it because they have resiliency programs. And the competition in that space is pretty big. I wanted to concentrate on small, mid-size businesses because they're the ones not doing business continuity, and there's no reason they shouldn't be doing it.
[00:05:49] Erika Andresen: So if I can, and it's thinking of the broader scheme, if I can impart knowledge and empower business owners to stay in business and continue to provide their services to the community, it enhances the community further. It keeps their employees employed and paid, and when they get paid, they can pay for necessities. Plus things like pleasures in life, which are provided by other business services.
[00:06:12] Erika Andresen: So it's this wonderful cycle that keeps going, and I'm not trying to say that I'm like this puppet master that has this broad impact, but at least my fingerprint is there and allowing a community as a whole to be better off and more enjoyable.
[00:06:25] Kyle King: Yeah, I think the last couple of years has really taught us about, overall sustainability and issues behind supply chains and everything else and basically economic impact of disasters. Even slow rolling disasters such as a pandemic. But I think it's extremely important. I think that we obviously recognize it a lot more now in terms of that retrospective view and over the last couple of years in terms of how critical these small and medium size enterprises are to our overall, I guess if you wanted to go to a larger scale, overall national security in terms of what they're providing to local communities. Where they're supplying food, goods, services, everything else like that, and empowering local communities. And so in your book, How Not to Kill Your Business, you present a conversational approach to business continuity that appeals, I think, both to professionals and business owners alike.
[00:07:15] Kyle King: And what do you think are the key takeaways for businesses, as you were mentioning when it comes to navigating this type of volatility? I mean, especially off the last couple of years and recovering from say future setbacks or these things that we currently don't have any visibility on?
[00:07:30] Erika Andresen: I think some of the major takeaways are first you can't edit your own paper, so you do need some type of person coming in and looking at it.
[00:07:39] Erika Andresen: And throughout the book, I ask plenty of questions in every chapter just to get the juices flowing and thinking. So you can move the needle and you're like, oh, I've never really thought about that. Oh, I've never really thought about that. And I think the biggest takeaway, one of my pre-readers is a solopreneur who operates out of her home.
[00:07:55] Erika Andresen: And she was like, "Hey, I learned a lot about business continuity. I can maybe do one or two things, but I don't think I can do business continuity until I grow." And I was like, "Hold my beer. I'm gonna ask you some questions." And I asked her a slew of questions and I was asking from the most basic level. I'm like, "Okay, well how do you do this?"
[00:08:10] Erika Andresen: And I know at base what it takes to make her product, but I kept asking her, I'm like, pretend I'm five and I don't understand. I was like, "Okay, well what would you do if you didn't have that? What if you, what would you do if the power went out in your house? What if it went out in the neighborhood? Do you have alternative places to do this? Do you have a safety supply stock?"
[00:08:26] Erika Andresen: Now, safety supply stock is more of a bigger concept, but that's the wonderful thing about business continuity. You can scale it down. So most people like wanna scale up. No, you can scale down these tactics too. So you're never too big or too small and it's never too late to start business continuity.
[00:08:42] Erika Andresen: So after I asked her a whole bunch of these questions, she's like, "Wow, I got a lot of work to do." And then when I checked up on her weeks later, she said, "No, I thought originally I couldn't do business continuity until I grew. Now I realize I can't grow without having done business continuity because it offers a sense of security that I didn't know I needed, and that was completely within my hands to do."
[00:09:04] Erika Andresen: So I don't try to pretend I am the hero of your company. You are. You are the hero. I might ask you some things that make you think about something you never thought of, but you're the one taking the steps. And you've already given birth to this baby. Why don't you help it survive and reach adulthood by taking the steps to do business continuity?
[00:09:22] Erika Andresen: The other thing I point out is it's one thing to identify everything you need. It's another thing to put money behind it. So you can say, "Oh, I need a backup generator."
[00:09:30] Erika Andresen: Well, you still need to go out and buy it. So business continuity by and large does require some type of investment, but you need to spend money to make money at the end of the day.
[00:09:41] Erika Andresen: I did think about something when you were mentioning earlier about what exactly resilient communities are and that the hallmarks of a resilient community is economic security. They're socially stable, they're better built, and they're out of harm's way. And these are businesses are integral into making sure that happens, that that is part of it.
[00:10:00] Erika Andresen: It's not just the local government taking part in doing their job and their mandate of making sure that their citizens are protected, but it's also the businesses that operate within that so they're able to give a sense of normalcy to the people after disaster,
[00:10:14] Erika Andresen: especially.
[00:10:15] Kyle King: Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that because a lot of the work that we do is in the international and the conflict space that we operate this nexus of crisis, conflict, emergency management with a lot of these countries. And some of the recent visits we've been on, it's actually really surprising because business continuity does come up in these sort of national level visits, and you would be. I'm surprised sometimes when it comes up because I didn't really think about in the past. I think about the traditional mechanisms of response and mitigation and all sorts of aspects and public safety and community safety and national architecture and frameworks and all these things.
[00:10:53] Kyle King: But business continuity came up and especially one of the countries that we went to recently, and it was essentially, 85%, well, let me make it even more broad. All small to medium size enterprises did not have a business company to play in. Only the larger private sector telecom companies, energy companies had continuity programs because they were large and they were making a lot of money.
[00:11:16] Kyle King: But that is actually contributing to instability. And mainly countries that we are operating because it's not necessarily just as a disaster, it's also conflict, right? So when conflict comes and systems shut down and sort of society degrades over time, business continuity does play a role. And so it's really interesting cuz some of the countries we've been in are now saying we need business continuity help.
[00:11:39] Kyle King: Which is very unusual, I think and has been a shift in recent years. And so as a professor of emergency management, how do you see the relationship between emergency management and sort of even in crisis management and international context and business continuity, and where is it evolving to, do you think?
[00:11:55] Erika Andresen: I've actually given talks on this a lot recently. I believe that speaking specifically to where I found the perfect marriage is with FEMA's whole community response, which was promulgated by Craig Fugate on the Obama Administration. Now, originally it was meant to be like, "Hey, we don't wanna be in the recovery business. We're gonna leave this up to you."
[00:12:16] Erika Andresen: And it was empowering communities to take ownership and agency in what was important to them and what they determined that they needed to survive and what processes and procedures were more important. It's better than having the federal government come down and say, "Oh, you need these things," and it's like, "No, actually we don't. These are more important to us."
[00:12:34] Erika Andresen: So it winds up saving resources on both sides and it doesn't waste anything because the federal government's like, "Hey, you want all this?" And they're like, "No, no, we're good. We got this." Like, "Oh, okay, great."
[00:12:44] Erika Andresen: Then we can divert these resources somewhere else that needs them instead of you.
[00:12:47] Erika Andresen: And the thing about emergency management safeguards people, business continuity continues operations. And at the end of the day, they both have the same mission. They have different wickets to get through, but the mission is for long term, there's this longevity and survival of a community and the way that with the whole community response you've got local government and nonprofits who are seen as like the first people who wanna respond. But the community is also made up of religious institutions and volunteer organizations. And people forget that these are also victims of, and survivors of the disasters too.
[00:13:26] Erika Andresen: It's like if you're gonna think that they're always gonna be there, but the truth of the matter is they're not.
[00:13:30] Erika Andresen: Or they're gonna be delayed in their services cuz they're also suffering as well. So I always love to tell my students, "Who do you think your first responder is in a disaster?"
[00:13:39] Erika Andresen: And they're like, "Oh, EMT."
[00:13:40] Erika Andresen: I'm like, "No, no, you, you and your neighbors. Because if it's a big regional disaster, no one's coming to you in the time that you need them. Because not only are they victims and survivors, they're gonna have to try to get to you, and that's probably gonna be really difficult, especially if there's flooding or earthquake.
[00:13:54] Erika Andresen: Is this not gonna be easy? I'm such a fan of taking the principles of business continuity and applying them to the government and nonprofits because it's not impossible. It's like I said, they all have the same goal. And the difference being like crisis management's reactive, business continuity's proactive. Business continuity's about enabling and crisis management is about control.
[00:14:15] Erika Andresen: That's where the differences are. But you could see that they still have the same desire for there to be the minimal amount of suffering at the end of the day, and everybody be thriving afterwards.
[00:14:27] Kyle King: I think that's interesting because, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, cuz I've been outside the States for a long time now, but I mean, it seems to be, let's just say over the last five years, 10 years maybe.
[00:14:39] Kyle King: So as we've had more and more complex emergencies and disasters coming into the United States and whether that's climate related change or whatever the case is, or just technology dependence or whatever the case is. We're having more extreme effects, let me just put it that way. To where, it seemed like FEMA was taking on more and more and more, just sort of from my perspective outside the US, taking on more and more and more. And now there's that point of where it's like, "Okay, look, we're not everything to everybody."
[00:15:07] Kyle King: And so it's now becoming an issue of exactly what you're saying, that you need to first take care of yourself. And then take care of your community, and then if there's any gaps, we'll try and fill that. So that seems to be a substantial sort of shift over the last five years or so in terms of, you know, we're having increased complexity and then now more dependence at a community level. What are your thoughts on that?
[00:15:28] Erika Andresen: Yes, things are getting more complex for sure. Climate change is broadening the impacts of certain disasters. So where something would previously be a season, like, wildfire had a season, it's now year round, and while there are fewer wildfires on the whole, they are much broad, larger in scope and scale.
[00:15:48] Erika Andresen: That's just one of the things. Because everybody keeps moving to the disaster, like people wanna live on the coast, people wanna live in the middle of the woods with no one else around them. That's increasing the cost of disaster recovery and response because you know what would've been 30 years ago, maybe a $15 million event is now a $1 billion event just because of all the businesses and people moving there.
[00:16:16] Erika Andresen: It's something that, like I said, it was in under the Obama administration when they first came up with this because they did wanna empower people again, but they wanted to get out of the business of being the people who were stuck there cuz they're like, we have other things we need to do.
[00:16:27] Erika Andresen: And of course, FEMA's constrained by the budgetary allocation from DHS and DHS took over in 2001, when it was created, 2002 fully. So they're left with a lot less to do. And that's the thing too, is people have this positivity bias of it's not gonna happen to me. And if it does, we'll risk it and the government will come and take care of us.
[00:16:47] Erika Andresen: And it's like, it's almost frustrating how much people don't understand how much the government does not have to help. They are very limited in their resources. And even if you're going to be applying for grants or anything like that, you have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get them and when you are having to take responsibility in advance. And why wouldn't you want to? I think we get into the mindset and psychology of victimhood versus survivorhood. Things happen to victims. Survivors live through things and if you have agency and taking care of these things, and I think it's, like I said originally, it was to get out of the recovery business, but I think the psychological impact of doing this whole community response was brilliant.
[00:17:27] Erika Andresen: And even internationally, I might make an analogy that I think the Sendai framework has a similar thing where they wanted stakeholders in the community to share in responsibility of what happens in a disaster recovery and response.
[00:17:43] Kyle King: I think the resources aspect is really interesting and that's why I like having these conversations on the show because it makes me think about different aspects.
[00:17:50] Kyle King: So if we're looking at, as you mentioned, the government, I think people might be surprised about just the level of resources the government can provide, of course. But then also, say if they are just giving funding, they're giving grants, whatever the case is, that money has to go, be used, or it's generally used to go purchase supplies, materials, whatever the case is.
[00:18:08] Kyle King: So again, if there's supply chain disruption, there's still going to be disruption. So there's second and third order effects. If it's you're getting supplies from another community that's also been impacted by another sort of disaster, then there's these knock on effects that will continue to hamper your own recovery in the community, which again, pushes that resilience piece back down to the individual and their business.
[00:18:28] Kyle King: But why do you think, and you mentioned part of it is the optimism piece, but what are the other factors that are causing businesses, especially small to medium size enterprises, to not invest in business continuity?
[00:18:40] Erika Andresen: I think the biggest challenge that I see is they see it as an expense and not an investment. They see it as something more like insurance. And I keep having to remind people, I'm like the best way people understand, it's like, "Well, I have insurance for that."
[00:18:53] Erika Andresen: It's like, "Okay, good for you. What do you think that actually means? That's just the transfer of a financial burden. The risk is still there."
[00:19:00] Erika Andresen: Risk management just mitigates risk. It doesn't eradicate risk. Business continuity picks up what risk management fails. And if you have a car accident, well a lot of people have had either a car accident themselves or they know somebody's been in a car accident. You are not made whole instantly.
[00:19:15] Erika Andresen: You still have the issue of, okay, now I have to go get a claim submitted. I have to wait for paperwork, I have to wait for the other party's thing.
[00:19:23] Erika Andresen: And you don't know if the other party's underinsured, you're gonna get less money. You might have to rent a vehicle by the time your car gets fixed. This is still the hassle and when I try to explain that to people, I'm like, "Okay, it's not as secure as you think. It's not the best option. It's gonna help you at the end of the day. Like you don't have to pay out of pocket for a brand new vehicle. But it's still a problem."
[00:19:44] Erika Andresen: And when people, unfortunately, are more motivated to operate at a place of pain than they are from a good position. So it would be after a disaster, and I'll say it's never too late to learn what you wish you knew earlier. So even after disaster, and also people are not demanding.
[00:20:01] Erika Andresen: Mitigation and preparedness is not something that's incredibly sexy to people. It's like, "We want this." And cuz the problem is there's no instant gratification. It's not like, "Well I've spent all this money, now I have this thing that I can show people how it works."
[00:20:13] Erika Andresen: There's no immediate proof of concept unless you've actually experienced a disaster or a crisis or some kind of disruption. And, you know, you made the point before about conflict is also part of this, but people will assume that it is just disasters. But business continuity is disasters and disruptions, and a disruption can be something like a vital piece of machinery failing to work, or a major shift in leadership.
[00:20:36] Erika Andresen: And maybe you've downsized, maybe you've increased. These are all things that can cause a disruption because it changes the way that your normal day-to-day works.
[00:20:45] Kyle King: So with that in mind, if there is a business that's wanting to start in their own business continuity program and like where should they be prioritizing their efforts if they're just starting to look at this?
[00:20:55] Erika Andresen: So part of the process of business continuities, do a risk impact analysis and then after you do a business impact analysis where you determine what your primary operations are in order to keep you running. And some people may think these four things are absolutely vital, then you do assessment of recovery time objective.
[00:21:15] Erika Andresen: How long can you actually be without this service and still be a viable business? And that's where it really comes to brass tacks. So people will think, "Okay, well this one process I think is super important. Well, I can survive without it for 12 hours."
[00:21:29] Erika Andresen: Well, it's not that vital if you can be without it for 12 hours compared to something else that you can only be without for an hour.
[00:21:37] Erika Andresen: So you put your money into shoring up the things that are gonna be usually less, like eight hours is usually the demarcation line. If it's eight hours or more, it's not that vital. If it's less than eight hours, it is vital. So you're gonna do some kind of strategic plan of where you're gonna focus that money, because it doesn't make sense to spend the same amount of money shoring up the eight hour operation than it is the one hour operation.
[00:22:02] Erika Andresen: So, figuring that out is the first thing because people, especially small businesses and mid-size businesses, they hear a lot about, oh, you need to get your marketing dialed in. You need to get your sales dialed in. It's like, well, that's all well and good. But what if you can't open your shop door because you haven't done business continuity?
[00:22:21] Erika Andresen: It's great to wanna put cash in the registers of veteran business owners, BIPOC business owners, women business owners. But if that register can't open because you don't have a business anymore, how important is that?
[00:22:33] Erika Andresen: So I think people have a fundamental misunderstanding of where they need to focus originally. I think it is a wonderful thing to do along with your business plan. When you're writing out a business plan, doing your business continuity plan at the same time because it becomes something that you're inherently including as part of your business.
[00:22:51] Kyle King: Yeah. I think it hits directly to your point of, you know, you go through this whole process and you start integrating business continuity into your operations and you don't have that immediate sense of gratification, right? It's not like I just bought this shiny thing and then like all of a sudden you can show it and display it. It's like it's an unsatisfying check mark, but it ends up saving your business at the end of the day, in which case you'll be happy that you had it.
[00:23:16] Kyle King: And I think that's part of the problem as well, because it's not as nice as seeing a return on an advertising spend or something else like that, that you would normally see in these other metrics and that were, and often vanity metrics that we're looking at as a small business.
[00:23:32] Kyle King: Since this has come up for me in our international work in the last year in terms of being a critical component of a national function, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about how private sector and public sector are really starting to become more merged to a certain extent, right?
[00:23:48] Kyle King: Over the last few years, more integrated, more dependent and really that public-private sector engagement is really starting to become critical. And probably has been for years, but I think we're really starting to see how it's really highly dependent upon each other. Now, what are your thoughts on the merging of these two spaces?
[00:24:06] Erika Andresen: I think it's absolutely necessary and very beneficial to both parties. One of the things I actually did wanna bring up, so this is a wonderful segue is US Economic Development Administration has CED or CEDs, the comprehensive economic development strategies, which incorporates intellectuals, educators, local government, nonprofits, and private business owners to strategize regionally on building capacity and guiding economic prosperity and resilience within the region.
[00:24:36] Erika Andresen: So they all are stakeholders in the process, and it is one of their cornerstone projects. Also back in the late '90s, there was a thing called Project Impact, which FEMA had started and it was funded where they wanted certain communities to do preparedness and mitigation measures, and the real wonderful case study outta that was in the Washington State area.
[00:24:59] Erika Andresen: There was an earthquake, the Nisqually earthquake. What had been going on prior to this Nisqually earthquake is Home Depot was offering these courses on how to earthquake proof your home and to make these little measures. And it wound up saving the Seattle area from a lot of damage because it would've been a far worse had this project not had happened.
[00:25:19] Erika Andresen: They wound up defunding it and then Congress decided, "Okay, we'll refund this because it makes sense to spend." It became odd, and this is part of the return on investment. It became odd to spend so many dollars after the fact, but not a single penny before. And that's the FEMA standard is for every $1 spent in preparation, you save $6 or $7 at the back end.
[00:25:39] Erika Andresen: Same thing with business continuity. And with Home Depot, what do you think happens when they're offering these free classes and they's like, "Hey, these are the things you can use, and these are things that you need."
[00:25:49] Erika Andresen: Where are they going right from the classroom? They're going out into a Home Depot store and then buying those supplies.
[00:25:54] Erika Andresen: So there is a benefit to this private engagement. And then also even with response. Some people may not know I happen to be, when I was stationed in Missouri, I go up to St. Louis a lot and the Budweiser plant is up there and I went on a tour and I didn't know this at the time. Makes perfect sense. One of the main ingredients of beer is water.
[00:26:13] Erika Andresen: So when there's a disaster, they stop producing beer and they start canning water to make potable water and drinkable water, and they send it to places that need it. But I think it's really not just great for PR and for reputation and goodwill. I think it's just wonderful that people understand that they have the ability to make that impact in the community and have that sense of purpose where they're getting something out of it.
[00:26:38] Erika Andresen: But they're still providing a great service. And a lot of it, there actually is a concern where FEMA does, I'm paraphrasing them, but they pretty much said this. They are concerned that business continuity professionals within a community with the private industry response are gonna be more concerned with making sure that their clients have money saved or that their stakeholders are taken care of before the community at large.
[00:27:04] Erika Andresen: And I think maybe they always say a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. That might be true for a couple of companies, but I think by and large, when people understand just how broad their impact is and how important they are to the survivability of a community, because even their business taxes pay for things.
[00:27:20] Erika Andresen: That's how municipalities run. They get tax, at least in the States, you get the money to pay for things that enhance everybody else's life and are normal critical infrastructure type things. It's just a wonderful [thing], like you realize how much you are involved in the cog and part of the cycle, and then just taking a step back.
[00:27:38] Erika Andresen: It's like, "Okay, yeah, this is important. There needs to be some kind of action here."
[00:27:43] Erika Andresen: And I think the more and more that the private industry recognizes that. Instead of just being siloed and put their head in the sand, it's just us. It's, no, it's not just you. And there was another great example.
[00:27:55] Erika Andresen: I read Jose Andres' We Fed an Island, and this is more about famous restaurateurs. He started the World Central Kitchen, which shows up to disasters and feeds people. So he went to Puerto Rico, which is wonderful about him being a restaurateur. He knows a lot about food logistics. So he went into Puerto Rico and he was like, you know what?
[00:28:13] Erika Andresen: "Everybody just wants beans and rice. Everybody wants these ham and cheese sandwiches because it's comfort, it's familiar, it's normal for them."
[00:28:19] Erika Andresen: So he started empowering the local restaurateurs, the small mom and pop restaurants to start doing this and providing that to the community. So he is immediately pumping money back into the economy.
[00:28:30] Erika Andresen: And then he went to FEMA and he's like, "Hey guys, your contracts that you do for X, Y, and Z, you should just give to me and to these people. And they're like, "No, you're not certified."
[00:28:39] Erika Andresen: And he is like, "What?"
[00:28:40] Erika Andresen: He's like, "No, we're gonna give a contract to this woman in Nebraska who has zero experience doing this, who's gonna then try to send stuff to an island that she has no idea about."
[00:28:49] Erika Andresen: Again, that's part of the federal government deciding what the locals need, and that's not at all what they needed. And he was like, you have no idea how much just sitting around and having a bowl of beans and rice with your neighbors really invigorated the community. So again, you have at that point he, he working through World Central Kitchen, but it's his private industry knowledge that he wanted to, again, infuse money into the private industry in Puerto Rico, just to get them even more quickly back up and running.
[00:29:16] Kyle King: I think that's a great example of multiple fronts, because that's something that we continually see across the spectrum of our international work is it's also, you mentioned critical infrastructure. If we look at critical infrastructure, it's where's all the critical infrastructure? It's in the private sector.
[00:29:31] Kyle King: And so then I think if you could just go piece by piece and you look at all the critical systems and functions and national functions, and you just say, where's the ownership of this? And you just start dividing. And I think people will be genuinely shocked by who owns what and find out that the whole basis of the national frameworks and everything are built on sort of private sector involvement, engagement.
[00:29:52] Kyle King: So I think that's really interesting. So if people wanted to reach out to you and to find out more about you and your book and things like that. First of all, where can they find your book? That would be a good start.
[00:30:02] Erika Andresen: Amazon.
[00:30:03] Kyle King: Amazon, as always.
[00:30:05] Erika Andresen: You can also go directly to my website. It's linked in off of my website, so EaaSC.com.
[00:30:13] Erika Andresen: Make sure that C is in there because somebody already took EaaS before I got it. So the C is for consulting. Yeah, just go on Amazon. It's Kindle and paperback.
[00:30:24] Kyle King: Okay, great. Alright, Erika, well thank you very much for joining us today and sharing your thoughts and insights on business continuity and the impact in terms of public safety and emergency management.
[00:30:33] Kyle King: I really appreciate your time and everybody should go and check out the book, How Not to Kill Your Business, and then take a read there and see all that insightful information that Erika's providing and certainly get in touch with Erika if you have any questions about business continuity, especially all those small and medium sized enterprises out there.
[00:30:49] Kyle King: It is coming up more and more often in all of our work, and I think it's really worth your time. So Erika, thanks a lot and appreciate you being here.
[00:30:56] Erika Andresen: Thank you, Kyle.